That's the question coming before the Los Gatos Town Council Tuesday evening when controversial business owner, Robert Chang, appears before the body to request the permit.
Chang must obtain the permit to fulfill a requirement of an ordinance passed last year regulating the sales of weapons in town, which mandates Templar Sports' operations, 611 University Ave., be reviewed on a yearly basis to continue doing business in Los Gatos.
In response to public concerns regarding Templar Sports' opening in late 2012 and the lack of any existing local regulations regarding the sale of firearms, the Council in February 2013 unanimously adopted a new firearms dealer regulatory permitting process similar to one used by other jurisdictions in California.
A Council ad-hoc committee consisting of Los Gatos Council members Joe Pirzynski and Marcia Jensen in April of 2013 worked with Town staff on the proposed ordinance.
The committee reported to the Council on June 17, 2013 and on Aug. 5, 2013, and the Council adopted an ordinance establishing a new regulatory permit process for firearms sellers in town.
The ordinance went into effect on Sept. 5, 2013. Therefore, Templar Sports was required to file an application no later than Nov. 4, 2013.
In general, the firearms dealer regulatory ordinance provides as follows:
- Requires all firearms sellers to obtain a permit from the Town of Los Gatos;
- Establishes minimum requirements and standards for obtaining such a permit, including verification of required state and federal licenses and certificates, a criminal history check of owners and employees, security measures, and verification of insurance;
- Provides a public hearing process for the initial permit and annual renewals;
- Establishes grounds for suspension or revocation of an existing permit
Templar Sports filed its permit application on Dec. 6, 2013.
As is the town's normal process for other permit applications, staff responded to the applicant in writing noting the application deficiencies and additional information required, according to a staff report.
Responses to the application deficiencies and information requests were submitted on Jan. 14.
One original and three copies of the application are required pursuant to Town Code. Whereas the applicant did submit the requisite copies of the original application, additional copies were not provided for the subsequent submittal, so the applicant was charged and has paid for the town's copying costs of the subsequent submittal, the report said.
Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman and Los Gatos Director of Community Development Sandy L. Baily are required to conduct an investigation as each deems appropriate to determine whether a firearms dealer regulatory permit should be issued subject to the standard specified by ordinance, the report said.
Following the completion of the investigations, Seaman and Baily then each make a recommendation to Town Manager Greg Larson whether the requested permit is recommended to be approved or rejected.
Chief Seaman and Baily have recommended that the permit be approved and there appear to be no grounds for denial as the business has all required state and federal licenses in place and no records have been found that would grant for the permit's revocation and no firearms offenses have been made by any of its employees or owners, the report stated.
Templar Sports has even agreed to enter into a written agreement to "indemnify, defend and hold harmless the town, its officers, agents and employees from and against all claims, losses, costs, damages and liabilities of any kind pursuant to the operation of the business, including attorney' s fees, arising in any manner out of the negligence or intentional or willful misconduct," the report stated.
However, town staff said in the report that Templar Sports filed its regulatory permit application 32 days late and that its representatives explained that the late filing resulted from their interpretation of the filing deadline which was inaccurately counted from the days after the approval of the firearms dealers land use regulations, adopted on Oct. 7, 2013, rather than after the effective date of the regulatory permit requirements.
Although town staff has not typically assessed late filing fees for development applications, the new regulatory permit ordinance does provide for the assessment of penalties of up to $1,000 per day per violation.
That means should the Council determine to assess penalties in this instance, Templar Sports' three owners could each pay up to $32,000 for the late filing fee, for a total of $96,000.
Town staff is also recommending that the business meet the following conditions as part of their permit's approval:
- Payment of any penalty imposed by the Council for the late submission of the firearms dealer regulatory permit application
- Prohibition on the manufacture or sales of destructive devices, ammunition for destructive devices, or armor piercing ammunition
- Prohibition on the employment of any individuals convicted of any offense involving the manufacture, sale, possession or use of a controlled substance
- Requirement to submit the annual renewal application for the firearms dealer regulatory permit by Nov. 1 of each year.
A memo from Chief Seaman found in the staff report said the department received the permit application from Templar Sports on Dec. 6 and that it provided the names and identifying information for 10 employees and two principal owners.
Los Gatos resident Linda Swenberg has written a letter to town staff supporting the business: "We're in full support of Templar Sports. They are a clean, friendly business [that] offers a much-needed service in our town. I'm sick and tired of going to other stores in other towns in sketchy locations. Those other stores are dark, dirty and the staff comport themselves discourteously.
"Templar Sports is a refreshing change from that and I would rather support a local business. I hope you don't drive them out of town. Two of my children attend a dance studio very near to Templar and we see no change in the area since the store opened and see no benefit to moving them across the street.
"This entire process that the town council has chosen to take is completely illogical and shameful I don't see how you can put conditions on a business after you have allowed them to open and they have done nothing wrong," Swenberg wrote.
ALSO ON LOS GATOS PATCH:
- Templar Fires Back At New Gun Zoning, Blames 'Vendetta'
- Los Gatos Gun Store Opponents Protest Saturday.
- Updated: Los Gatos Gun Shop Templar Sports Targeted For Closure?
- Town of Los Gatos Issues Statement on New Gun Store.
- Los Gatos Town Council to Consider Future Gun Sales Moratorium.
- Los Gatos Gun Shop Owner Says He's Received Death Threat.
- Video: Los Gatos Gun Shop Attorney Says Moratorium Could Be Challenged.
Sign up for the free Los Gatos Patch newsletter | Like Los Gatos Patch on Facebook | Follow @GatosPatch on Twitter | Blog on Los Gatos Patch | Follow Los Gatos Patch on Instagram